I am not entirely sure why, but at this time of the year, I always feel especially grateful. We do not celebrate Thanksgiving here in France so my gratefulness could not have come from there. It may have something to do with that fact that my birthday is on the 19th of December, shortly followed by the Christmas festivities and then by the New Year’s celebrations.
I love this time of the year. I love connecting and re-connecting with friends and family I may not have seen for a while. I send electronic Christmas cards and New Year’s cards (the French do not send Christmas cards, they send New Year’s cards and never before the 15th of December) and I often receive round-robins in return telling me what everyone has been up to this year. I am not a fan of round-robins, except at Christmas time.
I have so much to be grateful about. I start thinking about the past year, usually around the time of my birthday and I remind myself of all the good things that have happened in the last year. This feeling lingers through Christmas and intensifies again towards the end of the year. So much has happened that has made me happy. Admittedly, there were difficult times too. Sometimes I can even feel grateful about those too, because of what I learnt during such times.
This year I have decided to do something useful with this grateful feeling. I have decided to write another book. It has been three weeks since I finished my short book, You ARE Good Enough – a 10 Step Strategy to Stop Sabotaging Yourself, based on the content of our personal empowerment workshops here in the south of France. The idea was to write a short book, 50 pages max, but in the end, I needed 90-pages to get everything on paper. It is now for sale on Amazon, but I give it away free to subscribers to my Mailing list.
There are literally hundreds of Gratitude diaries for sale on Amazon and the rest of the market, so why write another one? My plan initially was just to keep a gratitude journal, for the whole of 2017. This is a huge challenge for me, I am not a natural journal writer. I can do 14, 21 and even 30-day challenges as well as everyone else, but a whole year? Never managed that before. So I shopped for a gratitude journal that would provide me with rock-solid motivation to keep going. Inspiration too, I need plenty of inspiration if I am going to keep going for 365 days. A spoonful of humour every day would certainly sweeten the task. Maybe an article from time to time, reminding me of the benefits of doing this. That would help to keep me going. I could also do with some visual, auditory, tactile and intellectual stimulation…
I could not find any journal on the market that could provide me with all these things. If there is such a book, please let me know before I spent the next several weeks creating something that already exists.
I have very big dreams for 2017. The biggest one, even just thinking about it gives me palpitations, is to create my own LinkedIn group, Mpowering Women. To offer something of value to members of this group on a regular basis is going to be a challenge that will place me way outside my comfort zone. I shall need to be fairly disciplined to do this, so writing (and keeping) a gratitude diary is probably not a bad place to start.
I came up with both these ideas on my birthday, two days ago. I had an absolutely magical day. As I love the sea, we drove to Arcachon, just south of Bordeaux on the coast, just less than two hours from here. We drove through a winter landscape shrouded in mist – no easy undertaking when tractors continued to suddenly materialise as if from nowhere on these mostly deserted country roads. Or maybe it was actually the same phantom tractor each time?
Luckily, but lunchtime the mist had lifted and the sun was shining brightly. We shopped for a while at the Christmas market and watched some very excited children and their parents on the ice. We had lunch at a lovely little restaurant right on the seafront. We tried their “vin chaud,” but it was too sweet for my taste. We started with mussels, “au curry et au gingembre (ginger)” and “à la crème et à l’Armagnac” alternatively, followed by linguini “au Roquefort” and “au poulet indien.” We ended the meal with two divine crème brulées and two “noisettes” (espresso with a dash of cream.) Afterwards, we drove down the Atlantic seafront to Biscarosse, where we went to another Christmas market and had a steaming cup of real hot chocolate (made from cocoa paste) before we headed home.
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